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Evaluarea documentelor fotografice

Evaluarea documentelor fotografice

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Published by: RA on Jun 14, 2012
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In the years since World War II, government archivists have placed

increasing emphasis on records management to deal with an almost

incomprehensible mass of contemporary records. The principles and techniques

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of records management can significantly enhance the appraisal of photographic

records. Archival appraisal in the office of origin as early as possible in

the life cycle is particularly important for all non-textual records, including

photographs. Most photography, regardless of how routine, involves some

creative effort. The appraiser will almost always benefit from consultation

with the creator, or someone in the originating government or private office.

Scheduling the historically valuable photography of an organization for orderly

transfer to the archives is as important for photographs as for any other

records. Since photographs rarely have long-term administrative or legal uses

for the originator, those identified as archival should normally be transferred

directly from the creating office to the archives, rather than residing

temporarily in a records center.

2.6.1. The primary function of the photo appraiser qua records manager is

educational. Unfortunately, far too many creators of photography, especially

in large organizations, fail to understand or respect the record character of

photographs. Without energetic proselytizing, important photographic records

may end up in the photographer's personal file, or scattered throughout the

organization, or in a gift basket or waste basket, rather than in the archives

where they belong. An active records management program can also promote

filing schemes that separate the significant photography from the trivial,

encourage necessary weeding of sprawling files, improve preservation practices,

and lead to a host of related archival benefits that will be discussed more

fully in succeeding chapters.

2.6.2. The basic archival objective of records management — identify and

schedule the disposition of historically valuable records as soon as possible

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in their life cycle — can and should be emulated by any institution

that acquires historical photographs. Photo appraisers, particularly those at

private organizations, must actively seek out the potentially valuable

collections of photography that fit within the institution's acquisition

policy and arrange for their orderly disposition. They should assume the role

of activists, rather than the more traditional archival role of "honest

broker," which David B. Gracy describes as "saving only that material produced

by those accustomed to creating records...or only what reaches him through the

sifter of time and circumstance." (13) An essential tool for the activist

photo appraiser is the survey, which is discussed fully in chapter three.

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